THR Motorsports / Bonanza Plumbing team rider and past Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 winner Robby Bell started ninth off the line on the Precision Concepts-prepped Kawasaki KX450F and was physically third on course after the first 90 miles of technical terrain. Bell then handed the bike off to reigning Vegas to Reno champion Shane Esposito, who moved the THR Motorsports / Bonanza Plumbing team into second place by Race Mile 190 when one of the main competitors ran out of fuel. No one is impervious to mistakes in Baja, but the THR Motorsports / Bonanza Plumbing team knew that their biggest competition wasn’t on two wheels, it was Baja itself.
Bobby Garrison took the Kawasaki KX450F from Esposito for the punishing whoops of San Felipe and was still able to make time on the lead team before Purvine Racing’s David Pearson took over. In 115 miles Pearson was able to make enough time up on the competition that the Precision Concepts Kawasaki was in the lead on adjusted time; this was shaping up to be one of the most closely contested Baja 1000 races in history. A pit stop to supply the Kawasaki KX450F with a new air filter and fresh tires put the team back in second when Robby Bell started his second session. He was able to run with the leader but not make up any of the four minutes they needed in 110 miles, but there was plenty of racing left. Bobby Garrison’s young legs soaked up the punishing Baja terrain to make up two minutes on the leader before Purvine Racing’s David Pearson and previous Baja 1000 champion Steve Hengeveld took up the mantle and continued to shave time off of the leader’s time.
As the sun set, so did the THR Motorsports / Bonanza Plumbing team’s opportunity for victory. After running on pace with the defending champions all day, a failed light mount made it impossible for Steve Hengeveld to push the Precision Concepts Kawasaki to its full potential. A simple piece of hardware made the difference between gold and silver, yet Shane Esposito was still able to bring the KX450F to the finish line just ten minutes behind the winning time in a race that took over 14 hours to complete. This was a stunning accomplishment, and the only regret that THR Motorsports has is that they have to wait another year for another opportunity to take away the coveted “1x” plate.
Mike Childress represented THR Motorsports on four wheels in the General Tire / Monster Energy No. 103 car. Mike has won in the desert on two wheels and four and started third in Class 1, moving up to first place by Race Mile 160 despite course markers that had been changed by spectators. With clean air due to the Trophy Trucks starting four miles beyond the Class 1 cars, Childress was able to run clean and fast to build his lead before handing the car off to Jake Johnson. Unfortunately the team’s race ended early when the suspension was damaged beyond repair on the roughest section of the course near Zoo Road. Mike Childress and the THR Class 1 car will return next season to run the entire Best In The Desert series and the Baja 500 and Baja 1000 to represent Monster Energy and General Tire.
The THR Motorsports / Bonanza Plumbing motorcycle team will not be resting on their laurels either. To be successful at the world’s most famous desert race you must possess the passion necessary to face challenges head on and a love for the beautiful, yet treacherous, Baja landscape. These are the attributes that Scott Jacobson and Rob Sims looked for when assembling the THR Motorsports / Bonanza Plumbing team.
THR Motorsports is backed internally by its Machining Services Division, Hoosier Precision Machining. Hoosier Precision Machining is a full-service machining company with more than 35 years of manufacturing experience. For more information about THR Motorsports please visit them on the web at www.thrmotorsports.com.
THR Motorsports Motorcycle Team is proudly sponsored by:
Bonanza Plumbing • Kawasaki • Monster Energy • Hoosier Precision Machining
Precision Concepts • Purvines Racing • Baja Designs • Alamo Alarms
FMF • Dunlop • Renthal • O’Neil •VP Racing Fuel
THR Motorsports Class 1 Car is proudly sponsored by:
General Tire • Hoosier Precision Machining • Chiron • Jamar • King Shocks
Monster Energy • MasterCraft Safety • PCI Race Radios • F&L Race Fuel
Team 71 • Hostyle • Method Race Wheels • ZLT • Es Motorsports • Checkers Pit Club
Finish line photo by Mark Kariya
Action photos by Vincent Knakal